Jonitha Alston Psychology September 13, 2012 1 The mind of a dementia patient My interest in dementia encouraged me to research this topic for my paper, this behaviorpattern has occurred in people for many years. There are many different reasons dementia canoccur, the stereo type is believed to only affect elderly people. Dementia has Dementia,(pronounced dĭ-měnshə) is derived from a Latin word meaning madness. The root word, “de”meaning “without”, and ment meaning mind. Dementia is “A deterioration of natural mentalabilities, such as memory, concentration, and judgment”. Dementia is often characterized by emotional disturbance, and personality changes,which can progress into worst cases, the irreversible disease, consists of two types. The firstcommonly known as, Alzheimer’s, named after Alois Alzheimer a German doctor whodiscovered, and studied the effects of the brain caused by Alzheimer/Dementia. The second typeis called Multi- Infarct (damage to parts of the brain caused by blockage of blood vessels) whichcan be caused by strokes. Both forms of Dementia can develop over time, and present. At the present time, thereisn’t a cure for either type of Dementia; however, it can be treated. Dementia is caused by anervous system disease, starting from Alzheimer’s disease, the HIV infection that can cause(Aids dementia complex another cause of dementia).
Jonitha Alston Psychology September 13, 2012 2 Determining the homeostasis of the body, if illness or disease is present this can causedementia, because an illness or disease is present affecting the bodies regular functions andabilities. Such diseases, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s can create the onset ofDementia, due to nerve cell loss. Head injury, toxic reactions (drug/alcohol use), nutritionaldeficiency (lack of vitamins), infections that affect brain, and illnesses other than in the brain(Kidney, liver, and lung diseases) can cause dementia. Dementia is most common in the elderly, but can happen to anyone at any age. A personwho has dementia will slowly become progressive; they will have different personalities andbehavior. They become forgetful, focus on past events that were memorable to them. Behaviorchanges include anxiousness, aggression, and switch of moods. Symptoms also includeforgetfulness, confusion, depression and social withdrawal and more. Even though Dementia doesn’t have a cure, depending on the cause of dementia it can bereversed if related to other medical reasons, such as vitamin deficiency, treatment of infections,treatment to relieve aids symptoms, changes in medicine, and surgery to remove a brain tumor,those are just a few. Medicine can also help with symptoms such as mood swings, anddepression. Forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s cannot be treated, or reversed. In my own experience, working as a C.N.A in a nursing home facility, the mostintriguing thing to me about working with dementia patients is identifying the beginning stagesof dementia, and understanding Dementia solely, how the disorder becomes progressive overtime, and trying to empathize with a patient who is distraught. Patient’s question of who they are,family members are scarcely recognizable, and daily activities that were once a priority, become
Jonitha Alston Psychology September 13, 2012 3a blur including simple activities, such as, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, and dressingand eating breakfast, are no longer memorable. I remember my first experience volunteering in a nursing home facility in Brooklyn,before I knew what dementia was, a lady kept repeating a memory, and pacing back and forth,she was a wonderer and did not remain still no matter how many times she was redirected. Amemory of what sounded like one she kept of her husband, whether he was still alive I didn’tknow, but now that I know more about dementia I reflected on this experience and this woman’smemory. I thought to myself, maybe that was the last memory of her life or maybe it was themost significant memory she held on too. From experience I know that dementia patients often switch moods, become easilyagitated when ignored, asked too many things at once, become confused, or misunderstood.Patients that become socially withdrawn encouraged to socialize with others, and partake incertain types of activities. Despite the visual image of physical effects we see, I wonder howdementia affects the mind of a dementia patient, and the process the brain goes through as thedisorder moves from stage to stage. The only thing left to wonder is where the mind has traveled. Contemplating what each day will consist of for the dementia patient. I always wanted toknow more about Dementia, after seeing my patients pace back and forth, up and down the hallsof the nursing home where I work, I empathized with how the patient must feel and I could onlybegin to imagine what loved ones felt like, after seeing this disease decimate their loved onesmind and memory. I often feel bad for my patient’s families because it’s not easy to see or carefor a patient in this state.
Jonitha Alston Psychology September 13, 2012 4 However there are ways in which a family can help their loved one adjust to their newway of life by ,Working closely with a doctor, developing a care plan with a team of healthcareprofessionals (the more support the better), making and sticking to a routine schedule for thepatients, (dementia patients work better with routine and consistency). Routine gives the patienta sense of independence, and control over their present self in their present state. When communicating with a dementia patient it is important to only discuss one topic ata time because too many things may agitate, and cause the patient to become overwhelmed andwithdrawal. It is important to empathize with the patients, because it helps to have someonelisten to their concerns, even if what their talking about isn’t of interest. It’s more about thesensitivity of their feelings and how passionate they are in what their talking about. It could evenbe the last memory they had or something of significance to them. There are ways to prevent dementia, by staying active physically (for stress managementand prevention of illnesses and diseases), staying mentally alert (by learning new hobbiesreading and solving puzzles to keep your mind busy and active), don’t smoking (preventsdiseases and cancers), eating healthy (keeps the body in a healthy state), and remaining at ahealthy weight to prevent other illnesses that can cause dementia. For example, diabetes, stroke,high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more. As a result, many people are losing their mental abilities, to a disorder that progressivelyeats up their minds. Families are losing their loved ones mentally, it must be frustrating to haveyour love one physically with you, but not being able to communicate, because there is nothingthat you can relate too, their brain is no longer at the normal responsive state it was in. As the
Jonitha Alston Psychology September 13, 2012 5future of technology advances, I am hopeful for a cure for Dementia, one of the positive thingswe can appreciate in technology is its development in improving studies and research.
Jonitha Alston Psychology September 13, 2012 6 Works cited American Psychological Association: dementia. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Stedmans Medical Dictionary. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dementia http://www.angelfire.com/ny2/dementia1/whatisde.html http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-dementia